The Allahabad High Court verdict from 1975 that disqualified Indira Gandhi, who was then the prime minister of India, was a “judgement of great courage”, Chief Justice NV Ramana said on Saturday, Bar and Bench reported.

Justice Jagmohan Lal Sinha of the Allahabad High Court had held Gandhi guilty of electoral malpractices. She was barred from holding elected office for a period of six years.

“It was a judgement of great courage which could be said to have directly resulted in the declaration of Emergency and the consequences which I don’t want to elaborate,” Ramana said at the foundation stone-laying ceremony of a university in Uttar Pradesh’s Prayagraj city.

The chief justice praised the contributions made by the Allahabad Bar and Bench to the country, Live Law reported.

He added: “This Bar has left an indelible mark in India’s freedom struggle and the drafting of our Constitution. I expect you to carry forward the extraordinary legacy, tradition and culture of this historic bar.”

Ramana called on the legal fraternity to take the initiative to protect the freedom and rights of Indian citizens.

However, the chief justice of India expressed concern about pending criminal cases in the Allahabad High Court. Ramana added that he did not want to point fingers at anyone. “I request the Allahabad Bar and Bench, to work together and cooperate to resolve this issue,” he added.

Ramana also spoke about flaws in India’s legal infrastructure, Deccan Herald reported. “We neglected and failed to focus on providing good infrastructure for the courts in India after the British left,” he added.

The chief justice said that court complexes in India were dilapidated, adding that this was detrimental to “the experience of litigants and lawyers”.

Ramana added: “Sufficient judicial infrastructure can help improve access to justice, by catering to the ever-rising number of cases and litigants, and their changing needs” he added.

Ramana proposed the establishment of a National Judicial Infrastructure Corporation to address the problem. “The NJIC [National Judicial Infrastructure] shall be along the lines of different infrastructure development statutory bodies that work towards creating national assets across the country,” he said.